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Also referred to as an electric arc, arc flash is a term that is used to describe the rapid release of undesired energy mainly from an electrical arcing fault. This dangerous process happens faster than a blink of an eye and it can cause devastating consequences.
The rapid electric discharge causes explosions known as arc blasts. An arc blast and the heat produced may cause a fire, flying metal objects, and pressure waves that can damage property, cause life-threatening injuries, and even death to personnel near the arc flash.
The common causes of arc flash are carelessness and machine failure. For instance, poor machine maintenance or insulation failure can cause arc flash. Although an arc flash will occur when the equipment is in operation, it’s not always possible to foresee when an it will occur. When a flash occurs, it causes different types of injuries, including:
Burns: An electrical system often runs at more than 480 V in order to supply an arc flash. According to WPS, an arc flash may produce temperatures exceeding 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the arc fault that causes flashes tends to burn away quickly, the energy it discharges may burn everything in its path.
Shockwave: The force of an arc flash explosion can easily knock off even the sturdiest employee off their feet. If they were on a ladder or scaffolding, the flash may cause them to fall and causing more injuries.
Light: Apart from producing high temperatures, an arc flash will produce a lot of light that may damage your employees’ eyesight including blindness.
Noise: An arc flash produces a sound that can cause damage and hearing loss.
Dangerous gases: Another consequence of an arc flash is the poisonous gases it produces. If inhaled, these gases can cause lung damage.
Working with or around electricity may expose your workers to electrical hazards such as fires, shock, and explosions. However, you can help prevent these problems by investing in employee arc flash safety training. Although electricity makes our lives easier, it is also a serious hazard.
Especially to employees who work with electricity directly. This includes electricians, electrical engineers, and power line workers. Other employees such as cashiers and other office workers work with electricity indirectly, but they face electrical hazards from using electrically powered equipment.
Sometimes electrical accidents are caused by unsafe work practices or unsafe equipment. There are several indicators that an electrical tool or equipment can be a hazard. For example, warm wires, tools, and equipment indicate that there’s too much current.
If there are blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers, it may be a sign of high electrical current flowing through the circuit board. Wet conditions may also cause electrical hazards. Cords that are not listed for wet conditions or cords with broken insulations can cause shock.
All employees working with electricity whether directly or indirectly are at risk of electrical injuries. Tools and equipment that have damaged wiring can cause burns, shock and fire hazards. Eclectically powered machines can injure your employees in case they malfunction either due to short or electrical surge. Employees working around energized equipment are also at a higher risk of being shocked and sustaining arc flash injuries.
Electricity is vital to the success of your business. However, too much electricity can cause your tools and equipment to overheat and potentially cause a fire that can result in loss of life and property. To minimize the risk of an arc flash, it’s important that you invest in the right employee safety training. This training can have several benefits to your business, including:
Being compliant: According to NFPA 70E, safety-related work practices like installation and verification of proper maintenance, auditing requirements, alerting techniques, and employee training are part of the administrative controls in the overall electrical safety program.
Protect your employees: Your employees are your biggest asset, which means that when one of them is hurt, then your business also hurts. The main goal of arc flash safety training is to prevent electrical shock injuries.
Training can be customized to your work environment: There are no similar electrical systems. This means that your electrical system is unique and set up according to your needs. Fortunately, training can also be customized to fit your needs.
Training saves you money: When you protect your employees by providing them with arc flash training, you will greatly reduce the number of accidents at your workplace, which means you won’t spend a lot of money settling personal injury cases and suffering from .
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